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Overview of SIF Zones in PowerSchool

The Schools Interoperability Framework features a scalable architecture in which applications and their data are organized into "zones." Each SIF Zone is managed by a Zone Integration Server. When two or more Agents register in a zone, they're able to communicate with one another by exchanging messages with the ZIS.

The data that flows through a zone is defined by the Agents—with the PowerSchool SIF Agent, the set of records published to each zone can come from a district, a single school, or an aggregate zone (made up of multiple zones).

District Zones

"District" is the optimum zone type for PowerSchool zones configuration. Obviously, District zones can accommodate multiple schools, streamlining reporting and school-to-school data sharing efforts.

School Zones

One-zone-per-school configuration is possible with the PowerSchool SIF Agent; however, Aggregate or District zone type settings should be considered for schools that are members of large districts, or have district and/or state-level reporting mandates.

Aggregate Zones

In some cases it is necessary to group two or more schools into a single zone. For example, a State Department or a Regional Service Agency may wish to connect to your SIF infrastructure in order to query SIF Data Objects for the purpose of vertical reporting. It would be cumbersome for this kind of application to connect to each school zone individually, especially in a large district. What's needed is a way for the district administrator to create a single, monolithic zone that represents all schools in the district. This way, the State Department can connect to one zone instead of tens or hundreds of school zones.

With the PowerSchool Agent, you can create "aggregate zones" that serve to aggregate the data from two or more school zones. Aggregate zones function as a single point of communication for many school zones. When a SIF Request is received, it is dispatched to all of the school zones that are members of the Aggregate Zone; the results are combined into a single response and returned to the requesting Agent. Similarly, when events are reported by a PowerSchool school, they're also reported to any Aggregate Zones of which the school is a member.

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